The elite belief in Uberized, Muskized cities is at odds with fundamental, irrefutable facts of geometry


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/26/elite-focus.html


#2

Next somebody will be telling me that the hyperloop is a silly idea that has too many engineering issues to ever work.

Tina-Fey-giving-herself-high-five


#3

OTOH, ISTR reading that somebody calculated in the mid-19th century that skyscrapers were impossible because there wouldn’t be enough room on the ground floor for the doors that all visitors to the offices on the 2nd -50th floors would need. But the telephone changed that. Certainly big data is not really going to make much difference in mass transit. but other technologies MIGHT change the number of people that needed to be accommodated.


#4

You know what would make a difference in that… allowing for telecommuting most days and allowing for adequate housing and support close to the work site.


#5

I telecommute most days; it’s like being paid more for all the fares I don’t pay and the time I don’t lose.

It is ridiculous how many jobs that could be teleworked just fine, aren’t, just so a manager or other can monitor your toilet breaks or because some ahole abused the lack of supervision and they threw out the idea instead of just throwing out the ahole. >.<


#6

I always though that the most unrealistic thing about the movie Her wasn’t the idea of an emergent AI, but the fact that with a job where all the required interactions were between him and his clients, he still had an office.


#7

I knew it…


#8

It is pretty amazing how Musk will move heaven and earth rather than live in Hawthorne.


#9

Here you go.


#10

Yes, like robotics, which if used correctly will put many of those people who do manual labor like making coffee, picking up trash, etc. out of work so they don’t need to be in cars on the way to wherever rich people go.

Then we can properly put them to use far away from urban rich people doing things that require humans, like gladiator entertainment, dealing with cleaning toxic waste in places where losing an expensive machine isn’t worth the risk, and in the bedrooms of the elite men.


#11

nah, they can work around the engineering issues - just that the cost of doing so will make it too expensive to bother building.


#12

my office picks up the fee for EV charging in their parking garage so I come to work for the free recharges. my drive is 5 minutes with no other fees.


#13

They’ll just make those self driving cars large enough to allow 50-60 riders. And economize by having you pick it up at a regular stop and drop you off at a regular stop.


#14

While I love a mass transit city and live in one, most of our cities have pretty poor mass transit infrastructure, and any new infrastructure like the tunnels would be a step forward. Especially if it were a private company building it, like the NYC subways originally were. There was a recent article in the NYTimes about how absurdly expensive the recent work on the 2nd Ave line was compared to anywhere else in the world.


#15

I’d be really surprised if anyone knowledgeable about architecture at the time said that. The earliest proto-skyscrapers were already in existence and steel construction techniques were coming into vogue in warehouses. The problem with the idea that technology is going to fix this is that all trends are pointing the other way. Our human workforce is becoming more service oriented and more urban. For every programmer who can nominally work from anywhere there are a ton of baristas and bartenders whose jobs are tightly coupled to a location. Assume the most generous conditions for private cars in a tunnel system, just a perfect enclosure of the space with no additional space taken up by the car, that still ends up being a less efficient use of space than a modern bus. We might hit technologies that bend the curve, but Musk’s system isn’t that tech.


#16

…and add to that the inefficiency of moving all that extra mass around.


#17

For most of the cities on that list a new tunnel system would not help much at all. Even a 75% drop in the costs of tunnel construction doesn’t make it cost competitive with a well run bus system. If you want to shift those numbers, you’ll have a lot more luck with zoning changes and stopping the massive subsidies to private cars.


#18

If it’s not cost competitive for a private company it won’t get built, will it? But besides that it’s advantage is it’s not competing for street space. Here, there a street that’s a great candidate for a Bus Rapid Transit, it would transform the neighborhood it would run through. But the loss of street parking means it would NEVER happen! Incumbent forces are strong. The only way the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail got built,(the only new mass transit system in the NY Metro area in half a century) was that it was almost entirely on non-roadway right of ways. Even the few blocks it was on the street became battlegrounds.


#19

Don’t underestimate the staying power of America’s corporate HR Culture.

Your mention of that movie brings up the fact that, when it was released, audiences in L.A. cheered when they saw the main character hop on a subway downtown and get off at the beach. If there’s a huge hunger for good mass transit in the capital of America’s car culture then there’s hope that eventually the politicians will start listening.


#20

Just hope they don’t do what Seattle is doing and paying for the light rail by fucking over the bus lines.